“This was an exploratory patent filed in 2015 by an R&D team working independently from our game studios.”
Reports began to break yesterday of a controversial matchmaking system that Activision is apparently utilizing for its multiplayer games, where it matches players sometimes with players of different skill levels and proficiencies to nudge them into spending money on microtransactions and lootboxes.
For instance, a new player might get matched with another player who is a great sniper with fancy equipment, which might lead the new player to want to splurge on microtransactions to try and get on that level.
Naturally, this is extremely scummy and entirely unacceptable as a form of psychological manipulation- it also completely undermines all semblance of integrity for game balance. Which is why it is a good thing that Activision has confirmed in a statement to Charlie Intel that the system, while patented, has never actually been implemented in any game so far.
“This was an exploratory patent filed in 2015 by an R&D team working independently from our game studios. It has not been implemented in-game,” Activision said.
This is good to hear- but on the other hand, the sheer cynical lengths to which game companies will go to monetize games and their user base are frankly astounding. More and more, it is becoming clear that the monetization in AAA games is becoming egregious- I don’t know what the fix to this might be, but it is also clear that we will need one soon enough.